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LONDON, ON. – Local 4222 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 2,000 school board workers at the Thames Valley District School Board, is warning parents the board has missed an opportunity to reinstate full public custodial services, after learning of the board’s decision to replace a bankrupt contractor with another private supplier to clean 17 schools.

Why would management allow another profit seeking company to replace a bankrupt contractor that has failed the public, when the board has its own experienced and reliable public workers?” said Dave Hill, president of CUPE 4222. “It would have made more sense to bring this work in house so all schools in the board could benefit from directly accountable public services.”

At a meeting with school board management on Aug. 26 to discuss the possibility of bringing the custodial services in-house, CUPE 4222 learned that management had already signed a contract with another private company within days of the bankruptcy of the first company.

Privatization robs our schools of precious public resources, as private companies are driven by the bottom line,” said Hill. “Contracting-in the custodial services will now be a priority in our upcoming contract negotiations,” said Hill. The union’s contract expires Aug. 31, with bargaining scheduled to start in September.

CUPE 4222 represents over 2,000 custodians, education assistants, instructional assistants, secretaries and clerical support staff, and technical and maintenance workers in 186 schools in Elgin, Oxford and Middlesex counties. Custodial services at 17 county schools were originally contracted out prior to the amalgamation of four school boards in Elgin, Oxford, Middlesex counties and the city of London in 1998. “County schools deserve the same quality public services and accountability that students and schools enjoy in the City of London,” said Hill.

For further information, please contact:

Dave Hill
president of CUPE Local 4222
(519) 851-9970 (cell)

Jennifer Kaufmann
CUPE national representative
(519) 433-1753
(519) 852-2803 (cell)

James Chai
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999